Prevent an Injury | British Airways Run Gatwick

Prevent An Injury

The good news is that it’s possible to prevent an injury from becoming something even more serious than aches and pains.  Our blog from  Benedict Rogers, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (and part-time marathon runner) at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, highlights some subtle physical signs that a runner should not ignore to prevent an injury! Read on to find out how you can prevent an injury in the training of The British Airways Run Gatwick Half Marathon or 5k race.

4 Common Subtle Signs Which Every Runner Should Address:

Mud Or Kick Marks On Your Calves

Possible cause: weak hip extension, so your hips rotate when you push-off

Action: strength your gluteal muscles, in particular gluteus maximus (buttock muscle) and gluteus medius (hip abductor). Strengthening and flexibility can be achieved with regular stretching of this muscle groups in combination with static resistance work.  This specific muscle groups can be strengthened in a gym with resistance machines or the use of a stretch cord.

Asymmetrical Wear Of Your Running Shoes

Possible cause(s): apparent leg length discrepancy, excessive hip rotation, running on cambered surfaces

Action: avoid running on cambered surfaces regularly or switch the side of the road/pavement you run on to minimise the effect. If the pelvis is not horizontal then one leg may act as if it is functionally shorter than the other. This is commonly caused by lower back issues, including lower back muscle weakness and /or nerves being pinched.  Seeing a back specialist in this situation is important. Small residual leg length discrepancy (<1cm) can be helped with an in sole/lift. Greater differences should be assessed by a specialist.

Excessive rotation of the pelvis on the lower back – lumbopelvic dysfunction – is a further cause and a physiotherapy assessment should be able to plan exercise to correct this.

Asymmetrical Calluses On Your Feet

Possible cause: tight gastrocnemius muscles (calves) or tight plantar fascia (sole of foot)

Action: assess your degree of calf flexibility by seeing how far forward you can bend you knee, which keeping your heel on the ground. The flexibility of the calves should be symmetrical. Regular stretching of the calf muscles before and after running is essential, and more essential as you get older (especially if you have a desk job).

Assess the flexibility of the deep tissue of sole of your foot (plantar fascia) by seeing how much you can pull up your big toe.  Tightness or asymmetry are important not to dismiss and a common trick is to firmly roll the sole of your foot over a golf ball or rolling pin to massage and stretch the plantar fascia.

The Horizon Appears To “Bob Up & Down”

Possible cause: possible ‘over-striding’, therefore spending too much time on the ground than necessary, increasing your vertical motion and increasing the risk of knee injury.

Action: assess your average cadence and aim for 170 – 180 per minute.  Running on a treadmill in front of a mirror to help you keep your head as still as possible.  Aim to keep your feet on the ground for as little time as possible….watch Mo Farah!